Y’all. I just got home a couple of hours ago. Dropped my stuff and ran back out, running errands to get ready for the work week. I’ve been mentally gathering what I wanted to say about my NYC weekend; to sum it up – #BehindThePen17 was BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful space. Beautifully decorated. Beautiful authors and readers and organizers and volunteers… yeah. Just beautiful. I should probably use another word, but that’s what it was. And, from beginning to end, the love was genuine. Plus, the music and the laughter and the selfies and the food and the energy… all of it was magic.
Kudos and a hundred hugs to Sharee and Saida for your vision and love for indie authors. You are AMAZING. That you would celebrate us in such an incredible way – in NYC?! – means so much. Thank you to the organizers, sponsors and volunteers; you made this event feel so warm and welcoming. Again, you are all incredible and thank you Sistah Girls Book Club for such a memorable experience!
Then I had dinner with my faves Saturday night. It was the first time Nia, Jacinta, Lily and I were all in the same city and the same space together – sooo much fun and the perfect way to close out the day. The conversation hit on a little bit of everything including our upcoming projects. *crickets* lol At least for me because writing has been on hold for a good minute because, well… life.
That’s when the realest moment of the weekend happened for me.
Leave it to my faves to come through with some inspiration. Love y’all. ❤
Hours later, I made it back to my hotel feeling a little lighter. True, life gets in the way. But I’m blessed to have writer friends who reminded me that sometimes life IS the way… and you simply channel your energy and write anyway. Escape and create. Because writers write.
I stayed up late with my best girl (my mom is so awesome; love her beyond words!), hanging out at Broadway Lounge, discussing the swirlnado in my mind over stiff drinks and yummy cheesecake.
This morning, I woke up feeling good. Really good.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of what Shakir writes (he’s a genre-bender), and I love it when he shakes things up while staying true to his base. Next Tuesday, March 28, is the official release date of In Service to the Senator, so I can’t say everything I want to say right now because no spoilers, of course… but just know that this is easily a 5-star read.
Today, Shakir is sharing a teaser chapter to hold us over until release day… enjoy!
“Mrs. Warren, I apologize for the harsh treatment that has befallen you, but we figured asking you to come along of your own volition would be pushing it a bit.”
Kianna’s eyes widened as she regarded the straight-laced scholar hovering over her as she struggled through her ties. “Who the fuck are you? What do you want with me?”
“Forgive me, dear, my name is Prater, and I represent the interests of an organization who wishes to see your husband take care of those interests.”
“Yeah, something dealing with Iran, right? Your ‘associate’ made himself pretty clear about your intentions.” She continued to struggle, frustrated over the deftness of which her wrists and ankles were bound. Even the collar around her neck seemed a bit more extravagant than what she figured a terrorist group would expend. She was impressed, but she was equally irritated. “Are you even a real “organization” anyway? You must be affiliated with someone, or are you trying to come up?”
“You have no idea of what our intentions are.” He scoffed, seething as she glared in defiance at him. “You’re about to find out just how real we are in a few moments, but first, we need to extract some information from you.”
“We? You don’t sound like the jackass that abducted me. What are you, Canadian?”
“Don’t be insulting,” Prater chuckled. “I’m Norwegian, but I studied abroad at Oxford. That’s not important right now, what is important is that you answer my questions properly. If you lie to me in any way, you will suffer the consequences. If you tell me the truth, it will be, by far, the most pleasurable interrogation of your life. Let’s start with something simple…what is your name?”
She hesitated for a brief moment, but figured that he might have been bluffing. She wasn’t hooked up to anything that could be regarded as a threat to harm her, so, she decided to play the game for a few moments. “Kianna Warren.”
He smiled, nodding at her answer. “Good girl…very good.”
In the next moment, the collar hummed around her neck, which initially startled her. She felt a slight prick against her neck, nothing painful, more of a nuisance than anything. The next thing she felt was a rush of endorphins surging through her bloodstream. She narrowed her eyes for a second as the rush caused a sweet and fuzzy sensation, like she’d taken a hit of a blunt. Hmm, this might not be so bad after all.
Prater kept his tone pleasant, even-keeled, as he continued to ask questions that were easy for her to answer, sending wave after wave of the drug that raised her endorphin levels through her body. That was before he got to the crux of what he really wanted to know. “Is your husband going to convince his running mate to invade Iran once they get into office?”
“What madness are you talking about? I don’t know what my hus—”
Kianna was unable to finish her response, thanks to an agonizing array of electrical charges that spiked from the collar, surging down her spine before dissipating to the floor. She arched in the chair in reaction to the pain, falling back as she gasped for breath.
She continued to breathe, spitting in Prater’s face as he took a handkerchief to wipe the newly beaded sweat from her forehead. “You son of a bitch! My husband’s gonna have your head!”
He wiped the saliva from his face and eyes, shaking his head over her ignorance. “I told you, lies have consequences.”
“I’m not lying, dammit!”
“Well, you’re not lying well, that’s for sure.” Prater leaned in for a second attempt to get an answer. “You want to try this again?”
“I told you, I don’t know what—”
Another searing blast from the electronic portion of the collar sent her into a quivering pool of flesh. She did her best to breathe deep enough to calm herself as best as possible. She was failing miserably. “Please, no more…”
“Yes, please, no more lying. I’m not a sadist…well, that’s not entirely true, but there’s no need in harming you like this. I do have a job to do, and you will not get in the way of that. What I’m having a hard time understanding is why you’re still trying to lie to me. I can tell you’re a good girl; you wouldn’t still be married to your Alpha male of a husband if you weren’t compliant.”
Kianna managed to get a view of the man who abducted her, along with the two other men in the room with her and Prater. She saw the other two men enjoying themselves and the spectacle in front of them, but there was something going on with her abductor. She couldn’t place her finger on it, but she had more pressing matters to concern herself with—like making it through this ordeal in one piece.
Prater’s face was expressionless, making it difficult to guess if he was, in fact, getting some sort of sadistic pleasure out of watching her suffer. He stood over her body, his eyes roaming over her tight curves before he took his fingers and lightly stroked them through her hair. He chuckled as she did her best to shake her mind from the mixture of euphoria and pain shooting through her body.
“There are some alternatives that we can visit,” he said as he continued to let his fingers roam. “Certain consequences that might not involve pain, that might help correct your behavior and make you more acquiescent to my commands and questions. Wouldn’t you like to find out what that might be?”
Kianna’s fight-or-flight senses began to overtake her a bit. She didn’t exactly realize what she was agreeing to, but anything would have been better than the shock therapy she was currently subjected to. “Sure, why not? What do I have to lose?”
“I’d prefer that you answer my questions in earnest, but we’ll adjust the consequences as you’ve requested.” Prater made a circular motion with his index finger in a direction that she didn’t have a clear line of sight of. After a slight pause, he began with the exact same question he left off with. “So, your husband and his plans for Iran after the election?”
“How many fucking times do I have to tell you, I don’t know what Terrell is planning? He’s not even sure they’re going to win the White House. You’re acting like it’s a guaranteed win, unless you know something I don’t know?”
Kianna realized the answer she was giving was less than truthful, but what choice did she have? Betraying her husband was not going to be the way she started off their marriage. She braced herself for the intensity of the shock she knew was coming, only to find that the shock wasn’t coming.
In the next instant, as she relaxed her body, she realized that her binds had been cut.
The next words out of Prater’s mouth confused her. “Stand up and take off your shirt.”
“You’re out of your fucking mind. Only my husband has the power to give orders like that.” Kianna nearly spat in his direction again, she was so incensed by the implication that she would even consent to such a request.
She looked over at the three creeps in the corner, focusing on the eyes of her abductor again. His eyes were almost imploring her to get it over with, like he’d seen this movie more times than he wanted to admit to. The endorphin drip continued to dull her senses, making it difficult for her to resist for too much longer.
“Fuck you,” she uttered, unbuttoning her shirt as quickly as she could muster. There’s no way in hell they’re going to take any pleasure in this whatsoever. She tore it off, not caring if the rest of the buttons ripped from the cloth, and tossed it on the floor, glaring at Prater over where the scene’s conclusion would eventually lead. After all, she was a female captive, at the mercy of a person—the face of an organization she’d never heard of a day in her life—who wanted her husband to accomplish the impossible, there was only one other conclusion she had left to deduce.
She wasn’t about to go down without a fight, either.
Anger and fear mixed within her emotions as the sudden chills caused her body to tremble. From the untrained eye, one might mistake her trembling for arousal, but Prater knew better. In fact, he took special pleasure in watching her squirm.
“Good girl, now your skirt, if you will?” His request came with a honey-sweet nectar that she wasn’t accustomed to in their short tête-à-tête, though there was nothing private about any of what was going on with the peanut gallery looking on with lustful interest. Being a psychology major in college, she was aware of the aphrodisiac of having this sort of power over a beautiful woman was having over the group sharing the space with her.
Still, she wasn’t going to make this easy, no matter how much the drip was weakening her resolve. “Go to hell.”
She heard a switch flip from behind her, and she braced herself for what was coming. Unfortunately for her, her resolve would melt away, tearing away at every fiber of her mental state. The dose of the drip rushed into her system, much more concentrated than before, causing her head to swirl and her body to sway, nearly to the point to where she needed to sit in the chair again. The more she tried to fight, the more the drip numbed her senses, making her susceptible to any suggestion. Regardless of what her mind wanted, her body wanted something completely different.
She looked at Prater, who grinned as he noticed what was happening to her. “That jolt was for obeying me for exposing your chest. Now, the skirt, if you will, Mrs. Warren.”
Kianna’s confusion was evident as she moved her hands behind her back to unzip the skirt, a slight moan escaping her lips as the fabric slipped down over her hips. Her eyes narrowed, her eyes closing with each passing second. She felt like she was dreaming, entranced by the euphoria she experienced from the drip. A smile crept across her face as she found herself on the edge of orgasmic bliss—something she didn’t want to experience in present company.
Whether she liked it or not, she was about to become a spectacle.
“Very good…very good.” Prater’s voice dropped an octave, alerting her senses into action. Her eyes flew open, the shock of feeling his hand slipping between her breasts, down her stomach and across her panty line.
She slapped his hand away, willing everything within her to clear her mind from the drugs in her system. “Touch me again and I’ll make sure you die slowly when my husband gets to you. Mark my words.”
“You have an extraordinary faith in your husband’s—hell, in your government’s—ability to find you, Mrs. Warren. If you simply understand your place—”
“My place is beside my husband, not stuck here playing bullshit international political games with someone who doesn’t realize what the real stakes are.” Kianna smiled for the first time in this ordeal, and she smiled wider when she saw the momentary confusion wash over her tormentor’s face. It was a small victory, for sure, but she wasn’t naïve enough to believe that she’d won nothing more than a battle in this burgeoning war. She tried to push the envelope with her next words. “Are you sure you want to see how this ends?”
“I can’t wait, and I can’t wait to see your face when this does end. Take her to her room.” Prater walked away from Kianna, and with a wave of his hand, her abductor dropped his weapon, unclasped the collar from her neck and proceeded to lift her from her chair.
Her senses were still dulled beyond any comprehension, but the only thing she could do was allow him to carry her to her next destination. She wasn’t sure where she was going, and in that moment, she didn’t care. She was relieved that this ordeal was over…at least, for now, it was.
Until then, she would have to find a way to survive.
In Service to the Senator by Shakir Rashaan – Coming March 28!
It’s been a crazy great few weeks for me. Leveled all the way up at a new job with a new company along with a few other life/family things… all kinds of fun and anxiety and good times. All that to say, my writing has taken a back seat in the interim… a temporary hiatus until life calms down a bit.
On another note, spring has sprung and we’re quickly approaching some cool literary events with awesome writer lineups. Coming up soon is Wine With Writers in Philly (http://bit.ly/2msJuwg) on March 25 and Girl Have You Met? in Houston (bit.ly/meetmeinTX) on April 8 – if you’re gonna be in the area, buy your tickets today… you don’t want to miss these authors!
Then summer is bringing us Indie Love In the A on June 24 at Wyndham Galleria in Atlanta! I’m so excited to be a part of this epic event again this year. Have you registered yet? Don’t wait – tickets are still available at @ https://www.eventbrite.com/e/indie-love-in-the-atl-2017-tic…. Finally, Behind The Pen is sold out, so I hope you bought your tickets… if you did, I’ll see you in NYC in August!
As always, thanks so much for the love and support… and also the most recent ratings and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. That you would take the time and let me know your thoughts about my work is everything… I truly appreciate you!
Jade was asleep in his arms, looking more relaxed than she had in weeks.
Kyle was glad he’d forced her to chill today. She pushed herself way too hard, and he could do without the adverse effects. Listening to her light snores, he made a mental note to keep her at ease as often as possible. It was best for them both.
“C’mon,” he said, gently shaking her awake an hour later. “We deserve some good ass food after that good ass love.”
She grumbled in protest.
Kyle untangled himself from her and stood from the bed to look at his love. Jade was a combination of adorable and arousing as she glared at him. He felt blessed to call her his.
“I’m really sleepy,” Jade mumbled. “Come back.”
Unable to resist, he slipped back under the covers and she snuggled close. Wide awake, he held her close and watched television for another two hours. When she finally roused, he read her eyes and rolled to his back, allowing her to take everything she needed from him, for as long and as slowly as she wanted.
Eventually, they made it to the bathroom where Jade was first in the shower and Kyle stood at the mirror, his phone streaming Pandora while he trimmed his goatee. R&B was the mood and, when Gerald Levert’s voice filled the room, Jade went into full concert mode.
“Looovin’ you… is so eee-zee for meee tuh dooo…”
“Sang that shit, love… wit yo off-key ass…”
“It’s like aye, bee, seee… one, two, threee…”
Smiling, Kyle kept shaving and joined in to help her with the last line of the chorus. “I’M LOOOVIN’ YOU, GIRL, JUST KEEP LOOOVIN’ MEEE!”
Author Chelle Ramsey is back again to celebrate her latest release, Standing Strong — the final novel in The House of BeJeweled Series!
Check out the book blurb and excerpt below, then enter Chelle’s giveaway. Two winners will be randomly selected from the participating blogs — one will receive an autographed copy of BeJeweled: Standing Strong and another visitor will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
Olivia has overcome many challenges and disappointments in her life. Yet, when faced with an unexpected death of a family member, and witnessing the murder of someone she cares for, she isn’t sure she can survive. The losses incurred on this journey may cause her to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
The return of Black and Kianna means the puzzle pieces of Angel’s life are finally locking into place. The picture is different than she envisioned. Angel must determine if uncovering the truth of their past, is worth the sacrifice of her new relationship.
Kianna’s played dirty in the past, but this time the fight is deadly. She’s willing to go all in to expose the truth, which will cause everyone in the game to ante up. Will her sacrifice be more than she bargained for?
Black’s gambled several times in the past, but this time the stakes are high. With his life and those of his family serving as the bargaining chips, it isn’t that easy to fold. To protect those he loves the most, he may have to sacrifice his own life to save theirs.
Angel. Kianna. Black. In the end everyone must bear their cross. And the truth is so explosive, the House will never be the same. One will stand strong and walk away. One will stand strong and make the ultimate sacrifice. And one will stand strong and won’t survive!
“So, what’s going on with you?” Black asked after TJ ran from the room.
“What do you mean?” she asked, staring at the space on the floor between her feet.
“You still mad at me about Kianna?”
“For what? Your personal life has nothing to do with me,” she dismissed, with a wave of her hand.
“For real? That’s how it is now?”
“That’s how it’s always been, Black.”
“Come on, Angel. Don’t be like that. You know I have no control over how she acts. I didn’t even know she was coming…and that’s real shit. Before I got shot, me and Kianna weren’t even speaking.”
A part of him knew he should open up and tell the entire truth, but he wasn’t sure she was ready. Or better yet, he didn’t think he was really ready.
“Look, you don’t owe me any explanations. I’m only here to make sure your son visits you.” Angel stood and walked towards the door. “I’ve got a phone call to make. Are you sure you can handle him for the weekend? If not, I’ll let you visit with him for a while, and you can call me when you’re done.”
“Angel, come on, girl…please don’t be like that,” Black pleaded, grabbing his cane, preparing to follow her if necessary.
“Like what, Black?” Angel stopped and turned back to face him.
“Dismissing me. You know where we were going with things.”
“I don’t know. Did I admit my feelings for you? Yes, but that was it. We weren’t going anywhere.”
“Yes, we were. Angel, you told me you still loved me.”
Angel’s heart beat rapidly and her eyes stung with the recollection of her confession of love and subsequent desire to take it back.
“I did, and I also said I hated the fact I did. I think I was confusing my feelings with your situation. Your mother was right.”
“What does my mother have to do with this?”
“She warned me I was falling for you again because of what you had gone through and said I needed to be careful. I denied it at the time, but I’ve had a few days to reflect on what I was going through. I still stand where I did before your shooting, Black. We’re divorced, we’ve both gone on with our lives, and I’m sorry, but there is no going back.”
Black stood in front of her and reached for her hand. When she refused to take it, he continued to hold it out, begging her with his eyes. She finally gave in and held his.
“What is it, Black?”
“Look me in my eyes and tell me you don’t love me. Look at me and tell me you’re only feeling sympathy for my situation and nothing more.” Black waited patiently, searching her eyes. “That’s what I thought.”
ABOUT CHELLE RAMSEY
An original Georgia Peach, Chelle Ramsey is a fiction author, writing stories to encourage, empower, entertain and strengthen readers. Many of her stories are based in her birthplace of Atlanta or her husband’s hometown of Cincinnati, where readers can relate to local hot spots and events. She wants her readers (women and men) to become empowered to rise above adversity, with faith in God, and belief in themselves.
Chelle holds an MBA in Human Resource Management, which she puts to use in her HR generalist role by day, while she writes her women’s fiction and Christian fiction novels by night. She is also a romance ghostwriter, a genre very diverse from her own.
Her most important roles are those of a wife and mother of three. During her “me time,” she loves listening to music, and becomes enraptured with the enthralling stories of Terry McMillan, and Nora Roberts. She especially relishes trying to solve the engaging mysteries of James Patterson and Stuart Woods, while eating a bowl of her favorite butter pecan ice cream. Chelle resides in a rural community of Atlanta, GA and enjoys writing, family time, and watching NBA games with her husband.